chapter  Chapter 7
Systemic Rationalism
WithErnesto R. Gantman
Pages 13

Chester Barnard was a precursor of the ‘systemic rationalism’ theorists, as much by his interest in decision-making managerial processes as by his focus on the organizational level, which is something that he considered as distinct from the individual and the group. The language, the techniques, and the issues put forward by systemic rationalism were the most visible in the managerial literature discourse during the years between 1960 and 1985. Perhaps the most important contribution of systemic rationalism is the construction of the ‘rational manager’: an individual who makes informed decisions based on expert knowledge and relevant data. According to S. R. Barley and Gideon Kunda’s scientometric analysis of articles indexed in the Business Periodicals Index, systemic rationalism began to wane in the early 1980s. For some authors, operations research can be considered ‘a modern version of “scientific” management’. During the 1970s and 1980s, the literature on strategic management grew, and specialized journals appeared.